In a spot-on editorial for the Guardian, writer David Dennis reflects upon how race and class impact what mainstream America deems a “national tragedy.”
Horrific violence in Aurora, Newtown, and Boston have been deemed “national tragedies; flags hang at half-mast, politicians weigh in, and there’s obsessive, sustained media coverage for weeks and weeks.
But what about the countless young people gunned down every weekend in Chicago? Or the Mother’s Day shooting in New Orleans last weekend?
Why aren’t these national tragedies?
Now take a moment and imagine a Mother’s Day Parade in the suburbs of Denver, a neighborhood in Edina or a plaza in Austin where bullets rain down on civilians and even hit children. I can’t help but imagine the around-the-clock news coverage. And I can’t help but think it’s because most of America can identify with the fear of being bombarded with gunfire while just enjoying a parade in the middle of town. But America can’t identify with being at a parade in the “inner city” where “gang violence” erupts. The “oh my God, that could happen to me” factor isn’t present with a story about New Orleans or the Chicago southside.
But no matter where the incident occurred, the victims are still there. Victims like 10-year-old Ka’Nard Allen whose father was stabbed to death in October. Whose five-year-old cousin was shot to death at Ka’Nard’s birthday party last May (Ka’Nard was also shot in the neck that day). He was also grazed with a bullet in his cheek at the Mother’s Day parade. No matter what part of the country Ka’Nard is from, his story should linger in your heart.
But it hasn’t because you haven’t heard of him, and you’ve barely heard anything about what should be considered a national tragedy.
So…why isn’t the New Orleans Mother’s Day shooting a ‘national tragedy’?
Is mainstream America indifferent to black suffering?
Sound off below!